Matt Jones

Nautilus Goes Spatial

This preview of GNOME 2.6 discusses an interesting development in its file manager, Nautilus.

Like the OS X Finder and Windows’ file manager, Nautilus currently has a browser-like user interface, meaning you use backward and forward buttons to navigate through the hierarchy of folders. In the new version, Nautilus has a spatial finder mode, making it much more like the user interface found on the original Macintosh operating system. Rather than using one window to browse files, multiple windows are used, each representing a single folder. Many Mac users criticised Apple for the OS X Finder (which was based on the NeXT file manager), as its new navigational metaphor meant the Mac Finder had – in some peoples opinion – lost its ease of use.

What’s most interesting about this new feature in GNOME 2.6 is that Nautilus was originally designed and developed by a company called Eazel, which was founded by Andy Hertzfeld, co-designer of the original Macintosh user interface. Eazel has since collapsed but its clear that Nautilus continues to be developed in the direction that he and his team sent it.